Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Closing Remarks by H.E. Zahir Tanin, Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

CLOSING REMARKS BY

H.E. ZAHIR TANIN

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF AFGHANISTAN

TO THE UNITED NATIONS IN NEW YORK

CHAIR OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS

ON THE QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE COUNCIL

AT AN INFORMAL PLENARY SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

3 JUNE 2010

UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Check against delivery

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Let me close this meeting by first and foremost thanking all delegations for their active participation and continuing engagement in this process. Let me also thank all Member States for their kind words of support thus far. I have been deeply heartened by the numerous expressions of good faith, and it is abundantly clear to me today that you, the membership, remain as determined as ever to reform the Security Council.

In this regard, I am pleased to note the membership-wide agreement in this room that the text with its annexes, currently in front of you, is a helpful vehicle to continue to move this process forward in accordance with decisions 62/557 and 63/565. This text, revision 1, is as you know a product of your persistent and unanimous calls for text-based negotiations, and could not have been made without your contributions, as these of course constitute the very foundation of our negotiations. However, with everything we have going for us, in our continual quest for reform, we cannot afford to grow complacent. We must now build on the framework that you so meticulously have put together. This is the sense of the house.

As is customary, and as a logical result of yesterday and today’s deliberations, it is therefore my intention to convene a series of meetings of the informal plenary to allow Member States to focus on the text at hand in an open, transparent, comprehensive and inclusive manner. These meetings will be scheduled in accordance with the five interconnected key issues as laid out by decision 62/557, beginning, this time, in reverse order and as a working necessity, only with a meeting dedicated to the section of the text on the fifth key issue concerning the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council on 11 June. This meeting will of course be followed by individual meetings on the rest of the five key issues. I believe that this structure will allow the text to continue to evolve in a fair, balanced, comprehensive and open membership-driven way.

I would like to stress that Member States are as always welcome to comment on any matter they deem relevant. However, rather than restating known positions at the meetings devoted to the specific key issues, I encourage all of you to look concretely and comprehensively at the text with a view to making specific amendments that would reduce obvious overlaps, address existing differences and combine common elements in the language of the negotiation text. For my part, and as is customary, I will continue to discharge my responsibility as Chair by reflecting all suggested amendments by Member States in coming versions of the text. Amendments will, however, only be applied with the agreement of the Member State, -or States, whose language is affected as is usual practice in this house when we negotiate. On this note, Member States are of course always encouraged to deliberate amongst each other and convey any results thereof to me either during our meetings or through a letter. You are, and will remain, the masters of your own positions, but only if you reach across the aisle in a spirit of compromise and good faith can this process move forward. Don’t just ask what the text can do for you, but also what you can do for the text.

On this note, I urge you to bring the same kind of engagement and determination to the next exchanges as you have shown in the previous rounds. The task at hand deserves it. Let me remind all of you that we continue to meet in an informal setting. This should mean brief interventions rather than prepared statements, and interaction. I will certainly encourage that to the best of my abilities. Let me also clarify, that an individual meeting could go on for longer than one day, so that we do justice to the scope of every single issue.

Again, thank you all for your participation and engagement in this process. I am confident that, together, we will continue to move forward towards a solution that can garner the widest possible acceptance.

Thank you.

Opening Remarks by H.E. Zahir Tanin, Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

INTERVENTION BY

H.E. ZAHIR TANIN

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF AFGHANISTAN

TO THE UNITED NATIONS IN NEW YORK

CHAIR OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS

ON THE QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE COUNCIL

AT AN INFORMAL PLENARY SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

2 JUNE 2010

UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Check against delivery

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Welcome to the first meeting of the fifth round of intergovernmental negotiations, and welcome to the first meetings in these new, temporary facilities. Hopefully, once we leave this building to move back into renovated conference rooms, one chamber in particular, we all know which one, will also have undergone some changes. For my part, I have no doubt that we will succeed, as I have personally been witness to the journey that you, the Member States, have taken since these negotiations began in February 2009.

Together, and in accordance with the modus operandi collectively embraced by Member States during the 19 February 2009 launch of the intergovernmental negotiations, we have held four exhaustive rounds of negotiations. During this time, you, the membership, have increasingly assumed responsibility for the negotiations process, aided, of course, by consensus decisions 62/577 and 63/565, our brightly shining lodestars, as well as a fully-invested President, and a body of work, including my letters and statements. But it is first and foremost you, the membership, and your burning desire to reform the Council that keeps us moving forward.

And as you recognized during our last meeting in January, no solution has ever appeared without a paper trail. Member States all united behind a call to move to text-based negotiations as the next step in the strict and good faith implementation of our negotiation mandate. As Chair, I of course complied with this universal request. Through a transparent and open process, in which I made myself available to any Member States or group thereof, I assumed my responsibility as Chair and produced an all-encompassing text, compiled in strict conformity with decision 62/557, which places your positions and proposals and the five key issues at the heart of these negotiations. The text, which reflects my enduring commitment to the principles of inclusiveness and transparency, consists of excerpts from the positions submitted by Member States, structured according to the five key issues, with an annex that includes these positions in their entirety. These are your words, and this is your text.

What you have before you today is the first revision, which incorporates the changes to the text that you, the Member States, requested before the 20 May deadline. To galvanize the negotiations on this text in an open, comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent way, I indicated in my letter of 10 May that the rest of the fifth round will be structured around concrete text-based negotiations on each of the five key issues as reflected in the text, during which Member States are encouraged to undertake more informal drafting exercises, merging language to reduce the obvious overlaps and finding language to bridge differences, while continuing to improve the negotiation text. I, as your Chair partial to progress, but impartial to any of the positions, will assist you in this endeavor, but it is up to you, the membership, to continue to create the positive momentum needed to move this process forward.

In so doing, we are following the custom of the house, and the desire of the membership to move forward. This means that Member States are the masters of their own positions, and that the text, which naturally remains open, will only evolve towards a higher degree of concreteness through increased creativity, flexibility and compromise on the part of Member States. I believe that this structure will allow the process to continue to progress in a fair, balanced and comprehensive membership-driven way in the pursuit of a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member States.

I now open the floor for any comments. Thank you

Justice vs. Impunity

By KOFI A. ANNAN

The establishment of the International Criminal Court followed the gravest of crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Republic of Yugoslavia. In both cases, as we know to our shame, the United Nations and international community failed to take decisive and forceful action to protect the victims.

These terrible events did however, shock the world into action. Ad-hoc tribunals were set up to bring those responsible to justice. The Rome conference in 1998 agreed to establish an International Criminal Court to help end the global culture of impunity.

As the states party to the Rome Statute — which set up the I.C.C. — meet in Uganda this week to review progress, we can reflect that the balance has been tipped in favor of justice. More than two-thirds of U.N. member states have signed or ratified the Rome Statute and a permanent Criminal Court now exists.

The result is that in the face of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the default position of the international community is no longer impunity but accountability.

Where such serious crimes are credibly alleged, investigation will now follow unless those denying the need for international justice can demonstrate that their national judicial mechanisms are serious and credible. This is, by the way, something yet to be done convincingly by those involved in the intensified conflicts in Gaza and Sri Lanka last year.

Getting this far has not been without major challenges. Powerful governments remain resolutely opposed to the I.C.C. Three permanent members of the Security Council — the United States, China and Russia — refuse to ratify the Rome Statute, as do others who aspire to permanent membership.

So while celebrating progress so far, we can’t be complacent. The opposition of those hostile to the I.C.C., combined with the inertia or distraction of those who support it, could mean the balance could easily tip away from justice.

And new challenges loom, including a debate within Africa, and beyond, about whether the pursuit of justice might obstruct the search for peace. The critics ask why leaders would want to make peace if the result for them is an appearance before the I.C.C. and the prospect of prison.

But in countries as far apart as Rwanda, Bosnia and Timor-Leste, we have learnt that justice is not an impediment to peace but a partner. When we abandon justice to secure peace, we most likely get neither. Indeed, impunity can, and has, contributed to renewed conflict as we saw in Sierra Leone.

The parallel pursuit of justice and peace does present challenges, but it can be managed. We must be ambitious enough to pursue both, and wise enough to recognize, respect and protect the independence of justice.

This debate has been intensified by the African Union’s call last year, following the prompting of a few leaders, for member states not to cooperate with the I.C.C. in enforcing the indictment issued against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan.

But we must not allow the views of a powerful few to threaten the aspirations of many. When I meet Africans from all walks of life, they demand justice: from their own courts if possible, from international courts if no credible alternative exists.

Indeed, African countries and their civil society played a major role in setting up the I.C.C. Sub-Saharan Africa is the largest single regional block in its membership.

In four of the five cases from Africa before the I.C.C., African leaders themselves referred them or are actively co-operating with the investigations. They have asked for international help to bolster their country’s judicial capacity.

In all of these cases, it is the culture of impunity, not African countries, which are the target. This is exactly the role of the I.C.C. It is a court of last resort.

But it is not just African countries which face challenges if we are to continue the momentum towards justice.

Questions of credibility will continue as long as some of the world’s most powerful countries stand outside the jurisdiction of the I.C.C. What sort of leadership is it that absolves the powerful from the rules they apply to the weak? We must demand that those who seek global leadership accept the duty of promoting global values.

We need to see a new wave of countries ratifying the Rome Statute after the Kampala conference, so that a permanent International Criminal Court becomes a universal one.

Further progress also depends on states genuinely exercising their primary responsibility, under the Rome Statute, to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for grave crimes.

There must be no going back or lessening of momentum. Our challenge is to protect the innocent by building a court so strong, universal and effective that it will deter even the most determined of despots.

Opening the Rome Conference as U.N. Secretary-General, I told delegates that “the eyes of the victims of past crimes, and of the potential victims of future ones, are fixed firmly upon us.”

That remains the case. We must not let them down.

Kofi A. Annan is former U.N. secretary-general (1997-2006) and the convener of the Rome Conference.

Source: The New York Times

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan